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International Political Economy

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International Political Economy
Starr Lee, Senior Academic Program Coordinator
1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 503
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5714


Analyze, compare, model, and project the economics of national markets. Under the guidance of leading scholars and practitioners, examine contemporary issues including democracy and populism, inequality, financial crises, regional integration, trade and investment, monetary policy, and the politics of risk and uncertainty.

Become an Expert

In the International Political Economy program, you will combine economic theory and methodology with expertise in countries and regions to decipher why some governments manage their economies more successfully than others. You will gain understanding of theory and also use case studies, formal models, statistical data, and experiments to evaluate policy.


Featured Courses

Gain knowledge on how international and domestic political influences shape economic factors and develop skills to evaluate political interactions of states.


International Political Economy of Emerging Markets

This course examines the relationship between politics and international economics in developing countries, with a focus on the emerging market economies.

Throughout the course, students will critically evaluate different political science theories of foreign economic policymaking in emerging markets. The course begins with an overview of theories of international political economy. The second section of the course focuses on developing countries’ embrace of economic globalization over the past thirty years. Students will examine different political reasons for why emerging market and developing countries have liberalized foreign trade, removed barriers to foreign investment, and reduced the state’s role in the domestic economy since the 1980s. The final section of the course explores how globalization has impacted emerging market economies, and considers how governments in these countries have dealt with the new challenges that have emerged in this era of economic globalization.


Comparative Political Economy

This course is designed to give students a working familiarity with some of the main ‘currents’ of comparative political economy and is divided up thematically so that students will be exposed to as many different “variants” of political economy as possible.

The first part of the course is an overview of the Classical, Nationalist/Mercantilist, Keynesian, and Neo-Classical understandings of the economy. Following the study of the classics, students will engage with rational choice theory, what many scholars argue is the major approach in comparative political economy. Students will spend this part of the course on a variety of rational choice models and theories in order to become familiar with this core perspective. The next section stands in somewhat of a contrast to the rationalist tradition, that being the historical tradition. Though sharing a similar conception of behavior, such approaches tend to operate at a more macro level and focus upon “class,” “coalitions,” “the state” and other such variables. Building upon the historical tradition the class will next delve into institutionalist approaches. The course will conclude with more social constructivist understandings of political economy, emphasizing the transformative role of economic ideas in economic policymaking, especially during moments of crisis and uncertainty.


Energy in the Americas: Conflict, Cooperation & Future Prospects

This course analyzes the political economy of energy conflict and cooperation in the Americas.

It is organized around the analysis of major players and their interaction in and beyond the Western hemisphere. The course is recommended for students who want to develop a broad understanding, supplemented with analyses of case studies, of the energy/climate change prospects in the Western Hemisphere given the great diversity of political and economic contexts from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.


Politics of International Economy

This course begins with a discussion of a number of theories of international political economy and then turns to application in several policy areas.

International political economy stresses the larger systemic context in which international trade and commerce occurs. It attempts, from different orientations, to encompass both values and power. It includes the “exogenous variables” economists tend to subordinate in analysis. It also includes the economic perspective that experts in international relations often ignore. International political economy is a bridge between disciplines and ways of looking at statecraft.

Featured Faculty

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

David Steinberg

Associate Professor of International Political Economy

Ling Chen

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

Pavithra Suryanarayan

Assistant Professor of International Political Economy

Matthias Matthijs

Associate Professor of International Political Economy

In the News

EU economic stimulus.

Erik Jones interviewed on Hopkins Podcast on Foreign Affairs, 6/17

Is the European Central Bank independent enough?

Erik Jones wrote in The Rift, 6/11

Can Europeans afford to be optimistic?

Erik Jones wrote in Encompass, 6/4

COVID-19 and national responses, part 1 of 2: Asia and Europe.

Kent E. Calder and Matthias Matthijs cited in MultiBriefs, 6/3

Argentina is on the verge of defaulting on its debt again. Here’s what you need to know.

David Steinberg wrote in The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, 5/29

Not Hamilton but Madison: Diversity makes for a better Union.

Erik Jones wrote for International Institute for Strategic Studies, 5/26

How a southern Indian state crushed its coronavirus outbreak.

Pavithra Suryanarayan interviewed in The New York Times’ The Interpreter newsletter, 5/22

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Recent Internships

  • Banque Centrale du Luxembourg
  • The Eurasia Group
  • The German Marshall Fund of the US
  • South African Reserve Bank
  • US Department of State
  • US Department of the Treasury


Recent Employers

  • Bain & Company
  • Control Risks
  • European Central Bank
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Gartner
  • International Monetary Fund
  • US International Trade Administration
  • Wells Fargo Securities


Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS camera man at a school-hosted event

World-class events hosted at the school provide students with the opportunity to gain first-hand insights from global leaders.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students on the National Mall

Students have access to invaluable networks through the school's strategic locations.

Gaining a Competitive-Edge Through the School’s Global Careers

"This summer I will be interning in the Public Government Affairs department of ExxonMobil in Houston, a competitive internship the school's Global Careers was instrumental in helping me secure."

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A Future Career in Emerging Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa

"I was really impressed with the diverse qualifications within the workplace that many of the professors had outside the classroom. Having that applicable perspective within the classroom was very important to me."

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Check back soon for upcoming events.

Beyond the Classroom

Experience the study of international political economy up close through study treks, networking, and unmatched access to leading experts in the field.

Politics & Political Economy Seminar

This biweekly lunch seminar brings leading scholars of political science and international relations to the school community for a lively exchange of ideas on their latest research.

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Consulting Club

Open doors to a career in consulting, from management to political risk. Network with alumni and professionals working in the field. Help organize student-led programs and visits to leading consultancy employers.

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World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars at our weekly seminars. Recent sessions have explored topics including Europe's sovereign debt crisis, the state's role in the domestic economy, and liberalizing trade in emerging markets.

Student Government Association

Serve as the liaison between the student body and administration, offering ideas for programming at the school and selecting guest speakers for the faculty research seminar series.